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Archive for the ‘Space:1999’ Category

As described in previous posts, I enlisted Jim Small to assist with the new Space:1999 Eagle with Cargo Pod box illustration by having him build some environmental props shown in the nuclear waste storage fields in Space:1999. So with all that work done, it was time to start photographing everything in context which could then be used as reference for the illustration.

Our method of working through this is kind of like a director working with his director of photography in a film, but we work long distance and transfer images and direction via chat messaging. Jim has everything set up in his workspace and sends over a photo. I usually plug that into my box layout that already holds all of the other design elements. Then I send direction back to him. Is the angle alright? Is the lighting correct? Etc. is worked through. In this instance, Jim sent me one quick photo just to generally set stuff up and see how the angle works, and this was the initial shot.

The angle was fine, but I had him play around a little bit with the location of the storage silo, but ultimately landed on the decision to position it below the rear of the Eagle. Once that was settled, we moved on to the other elements. I had him adjust the lighting and position the nuke cone platforms to the space I had built into my design.

My initial vision was to have a row of lamp stands in the foreground, but I thought we would be missing out on seeing the signature light flares coming off of them in that position. So I had him re-position them to the far side of the scene to judge later.

With all of the elements now available to me, I dropped them roughly into photoshop and tweaked positioning where needed and added a photo of the moon surface. This gave me the opportunity to play around with color and to judge where to position the lamps.

I ultimately decided to go with my first instinct (because they always tell you to when you can’t decide) and leave the lamps in the foreground. I wanted to use red to pop the box off the shelf, but I am not a “red guy”, and I wasn’t sure to what degree I wanted to push the “red alert” theme I mentioned in my previous post.

I continued to play around with color and asked for Jim’s input again. As a purist, he thought it might be better to make the moon surface gray and leave the ship white. The only way to separate them in a painting then would be to make one element “warm” and the other “cool”. I went through the exercise of proving one or the other of us wrong.

This is the image I used to base my painting on.

The painting itself was painted at 100% print size because the total box area is pretty big to begin with. I learned a lot when doing the first Eagle painting. If you recall, I actually did two paintings the first time around, the large main image and then I painted the smaller background Eagle separately and actually did that one first to get back into practice. I and many other people liked that smaller painting better than the larger main one. I liked it because I thought the end result was a better interpretation of the ship. (I think others liked it more because it was a longer-distance shot with less distortion in the ship) I think the fact that it was smaller made the paint on the board look more satisfying so I didn’t want the ship to get really big again on the new painting. Besides, working larger (which most illustrators do to allow details to sharpen when printed) would have required a large unruly board to paint on. So it was essentially one half a piece of illustration board measuring in the neighborhood of 20” x 30”.

I used acrylic paint again and ended up limiting the number of paint colors with maybe 10 different tubes in the mix. I used cooler reds for the shadow areas of the moon surface and warmed them up under the light of the lamp stands. I started by masking off the ship to preserve it’s pure whites. I then started roughing in the lunar surface before tightening up a few details like the craters, etc. I then moved on to the lamp stands and nuke cone platforms. I tend to paint secondary objects first in order to “keep my juice up” to paint the really exciting stuff like the ship at the end. I only transfer lines for what I intend to paint next. So that means details don’t get drawn in until the overall forms are painted.

One of the things I got hung up on with the first big painting was mixing the colors for the facets of the shoulder pods, and ended up painting over them several times. So I started there on this one, and only ended up painting over them a couple times before being satisfied. That helped set the value key for the rest of the ship. I laid in pure blacks just to get me rolling in detail areas. I tinted the whites a little bit where I wanted subtle color tones. In my digital color study, I purposely put a touch of purple in the outlying areas and shifted to a slightly greenish tone in the central area of the cargo pod. This was in hopes of attracting the eye to that area with it clashing against its complimentary background. For no other reason than not knowing where else to go, I started in on painting the details of the ship at the rear and moved my way forward, leaving the spine for last.

I was pinched for time by the time I got the painting finished, but it didn’t require the stress of staying up through the night and bringing in a slightly unfinished piece in the end. I had to touch up a few details and add logos and weathering patches digitally to the first painting. This time around I was able to paint everything in, and realize the fortuitous angle negated the need to paint Moonbase Alpha crests.

Scanning and digitally “stitching” a large painting like this is a tedious process even with a ledger-sized scanner. It took a total of 12 scans to capture the entire piece. One set of scans was taken from one direction then, turned and rescanned. This step helped eliminate the texture of the board and paint that is inherent in the scans. I tweaked the values to nicely match the original painting. We’ll see how it looks when printed.

A cause for concern arose when I showed the painting to Tom Lowe. His first question was “what, is it landed?” Um… Not in my head, and the colors should be tipping off everyone that knows the show that the Eagle is taking away one of the nuke canisters, right? Well, I couldn’t get the comment out of my head, and I had always wondered if I shouldn’t “cheat” and show the lamp light flares even though we never see such flares from behind a light source in reality. I thought adding them was worth giving closer consideration, and this IS an illustration. It should show the ideal, not necessarily reality. the light flares were created in photoshop and I think they really do help to show what is happening as well as stressing that the warm red under the ship is coming from a light source.

So, with all that ado out of the way, here is a sneak preview of the entire package layout with the painting and Jim’s buildup photos in place.

I didn’t want to spoil this post by putting this at the top. We had announced at every opportunity that the winch boom included in the Cargo Eagle kit would be magnetic, meaning that we would include the magnets in the kit needed to make one of the nuke waste canisters cling to the boom without requiring glue. Well, it would have been nice… We have been advised that in order to prevent the possibility of child endangerment, we should not include the magnets in the kit under any circumstances. The kit is engineered with locators for the magnets in case anyone wants to procure their own. In lieu of the magnets, we added a peg to the boom that can be easily removed for the sake of accuracy.  Was this an over reaction? Probably, but we couldn’t risk the liability.

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As part 2 of our look into the packaging for the new MPC Eagle with Cargo Pod model kit, we have a special article written by Jim Small. Jim is our go-to guy for all of our sci-fi model kit buildup work. He also supplies endless consulting on all of our sci-fi kits and especially everything Space:1999 related. In our last blog post, I mentioned that I had him on the hook to do a little scratch-building/heavily altering a set of Eagle nose cone parts to show a wrecked nose cone for the box bottom and a few stand-in mockup parts that could be used for reference for the box illustration. You’ll find, as you read, that Jim really went above and beyond what I asked for. My kudos and many thanks to him for that!

 

Special Box Art Effects, One Shot at a Time.

James Small, www.smallartworks.ca

The newest release in Round 2/MPC’s fantastic Space: 1999 lineup is the Cargo Eagle with Winch Pod. As with every great kit, there needs to be great packaging. The work prepared for the box cover needs to be engaging and authentic to satisfy discerning fans today.  Jamie Hood, Round 2’s senior designer, product development expert and resident Sci Fi artist is, as usual, right on top of his game with the soon to be revealed new boxtop design showing the iconic Moonbase Alpha workhorse in the fantasy situation as seen in the opening episode, “Breakaway”!

Although another one of Jamie’s gorgeous hand painted illustrations will grace the main box cover, he needed some model photography to flesh out the box bottom and sides to show off how great this kit is, and he asked me to help produce some of that work. I had been supplied test shots of the new Cargo Pod and accessories which I built, finished and used in conjunction with an existing Eagle model I had previously built.

Jamie knows how much I love to photograph models in a dramatic fashion, so he asked me to try and recreate some original scenes from the show using the actual built and painted kit.  Jamie started by showing me some screen grabs of the scenes he wanted to recreate. Because of the predetermined photographic layout Jamie had provided, I knew that some of the pictures had to be choreographed somewhat differently than the screen grabs to accommodate the spread.

Two models made using test shots of the new Cargo pod and accessories, one painted, the other left unpainted but decaled to show how great the kit can look even without any painting at all! The special machined aluminum accessory sets are also attached to the models.

Normally I like to do all my photography completely “in camera” with no digital effects, but in this case because of the limited space in my shop and the expanse of the scenes needed I had to cheat and use Photoshop to assemble the various elements that had to be shot to create the visuals. Also, one of the shots needed to have three Eagles in the picture, but I only had one finished model at my disposal at the time so I had to do some digital manipulation. The picture would also show the red striped Rescue Eagle, but I had only a finished plain white passenger pod available which was earmarked for a customer so I couldn’t paint it. Jamie would later add the red stripes in digitally.

I also needed to scratch build some props not included in the kit to make the scenes required for the box art so I built some quick-and-dirty replicas to scale with the 22” model to provide the necessary backdrop. I made correctly scaled light stands, a simple rectangular landing pad matching the original, a nuclear waste disposal area cone and a “pit” that contained the canisters which matched what was seen in “Breakaway”. Jamie also liked the idea of showing the Eagle carrying away the damaged nosecone as seen in the episode “Missing Link”, so he sent me a spare nosecone from his parts bin which I re-worked to simulate the banged-up cockpit section.

Making the props was a LOT of fun for me as I do love to scratch build and modify stuff. It gives me some real creative license as well as the challenge of reproducing the original models used in the show from scratch. Time was limited so in true traditional VFX style I built everything with just the photography in mind. The waste area cone, for example, was made from a disposable plastic martini style cup and detailed to suit.

The “nuke dome” being started, the cone cut from a plastic martini glass of the type seen at left which coincidentally has the close-enough-to-work angled sides.

Details added to the cone using sheet and strip styrene.

The top of the cone is turned on a lathe from a piece of leftover resin from another project.

The “damaged” nosecone was detailed only on the side that the camera would see. I cut out panels, detailed the voids with kit bashing and made dents on the surface, simulating the damage incurred during a crash landing, using heat from a small blow torch (very gingerly used!) and a Dremel tool. The opposite side, left mostly unfinished, had a plug-in mount installed where the left sensor dish would be so it could be propped up with the supporting rod (simply a wooden dowel) positioned away from the camera.

The Eagle nosecone modified with kitbashed parts put into into holes cut out of the kit and painted to resemble crash damage.

I also put functioning LEDs into the light stands and the cone beacon to add authenticity.

Four light stands were fabricated using sheet styrene and square tubing. These would later be mounted to a base which supplied the power using a 3 volt battery box underneath.

Testing the lights on the stands. Three 5mm “Straw Hat” style LED’s were used in each stand.

The red areas on the trunk of the light stands were also to appear lit up, but this was a VFX cheat, borrowed from Brian Johnson and his crew when they lit up the main model of Moonbase Alpha’s windows, by using red reflective “Scotchlite” tape applied that would bounce the light back to the camera when it was shone from the camera’s point of view, just the same way road signs are lit with car headlights.

All the finished props built for the box art photo shoot.

Some of the shots I did were the relatively simple ones, those shot against a black velvet background for the outer space beauty shots of the model shown on the sides of the box cover. Because I knew that the motif of colour that Jamie had designed for dramatic impact was to have a significant red tint, I used a red fill light to enhance the shots. I also shot a couple using green and blue fill light to impart a more colourful tapestry in case he had some other ideas in mind, but Jamie wisely rejected them.

The finished Cargo Eagle model shot against black velvet and fill-lit with a red spotlight for dramatic effect.

The  rectangular landing pad the Eagle is shown sitting on with its flatbed loaded with nuclear waste canisters was made quickly from sheet styrene using screen grabs as a guide for proportion and detailing to scale with the 22” kit. Coincidentally, the actual VFX shot for the episode used the like-scaled studio model 22” Eagle!

Jamie H. butting in here. Just for the record. I discussed making prop “stand-in’s” with Jim, all I asked for were rough placeholders. I told him to take some photos of the Eagle matching the angles shown in the unloading scene because it was a nice angle of the ship. Much to my surprise he sent me some photos one morning of the platform itself! Textbook example of “over-delivering.”

Lunar regolith was simply made from sprinkled concrete powder on the 3 foot square work surface. The waste cone was repositioned for different exposures and assembled in Photoshop to make it look as if there were several of them in the scene. Since a true “multiple exposure” is impossible with a digital camera (I currently use a Canon Rebel T3i), this compositing technique was necessary. The same thing was done with the four light stands to make it appear that there were more of them in the scene.

All the shots taken for the Eagle sitting on the pad with the waste cones surrounding it. Several shots were done identical except for lighting effects and the waste cone prop repositioned for each shot so that when composited, it will look like many cones surround the model using the single prop. Not all the pictures were used in the final comp, of course, but I took a lot of extra shots to provide different options.

The models were all photographed with the camera mounted to a tripod and suitably lit. Time exposures had to be used to achieve maximum depth of field. The hanging “damaged” nosecone and waste canisters were solid mounted and shot separately to be matted in later, as just the slightest movement during exposure with them hanging off the Eagle would have blurred them in the picture.

In some of the examples of the raw pictures shown you can that see some of the elements were shot against a green screen thinking this would be helpful in isolating them for compositing, but in reality this caused more problems than it solved due to fringing and “green spill”, so that idea was abandoned and I just used the ones shot against black velvet instead.

Some of the elements shot separately which would later be combined into the finished VFX pictures. Not all shown were used, some were used that are not seen here. Some colour correction and sweetening would also be employed to maximize the look of the finished composites.

Two of the scenes also required mountains for the background and foreground hills. Because of the limited space on the table I actually made the distant mountains from small pieces of carved foam, sprayed with gray primer which further textured them and sprinkled with concrete dust. These mountains in reality were just about 6 inches wide or so, but shot in extreme closeup and lit harshly. They were simply matted in behind the models. A similar technique was also used by Johnson’s VFX crew for distant mountain ranges, but without the aid of digital compositing! Instead, they had the miniature mountain photographs blown up and mounted to large wooden flats, propped up behind their model sets. I had considered doing the same thing, but it was far less expensive for me to plop them in using Photoshop.

In addition to these VFX shots I also took a series of photographs that were designed to help Jamie compose his painting, but he will cover those in his own article shortly, and are therefore not presented here. I also shot several “orthographic” pictures of the finished model for the box tray sides to show decal placement and paint schemes for the consumer to use as reference. The miniature was propped up in front of a black velvet backdrop, suitably lit and shot with a 300mm telephoto lens from about 25 feet away to help eliminate perspective distortion, making the picture plane look as close to a blueprint-like image as possible.

The three finished composites using the previously photographed elements. You will find these images gracing the box tray. Compare to the inspirational screen caps from the show.

I always have a lot of fun building models, but just as fun is when I have the opportunity to recreate the spectacular scenes that remind us why we loved a TV show like Space: 1999 in the first place.

Special thanks to Jamie Hood and all the wonderful people at Round 2 for finding a place for my work to be included as a part of the box art that will soon be on hobby store shelves for everyone to enjoy, containing yet another fantastic kit. Dreams are continuing to come true, thanks to Round 2!

You are welcome, Jim.

If you want to learn more about model photography, be sure to check out the article Jim wrote on the Central Nova Scotia Modelers web page here.

Next time, we will reveal the box illustration…

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I may have mentioned a couple years ago when I wrote about our first 22” Space:1999 Eagle Transporter model kit packaging that one of the biggest challenges deciding whether to showcase the ship in ways that have never been seen before by presenting an angle or environment never pictured on-screen OR to play up to the familiarity of nostalgia and try and do a close representation of one of the many memorable scenes ingrained in the memories long-time fans hold onto. That was the first mountain I had to conquer when it came to designing the packaging for our new kit of the Eagle with Cargo Pod that will be winging its way to modelers’ workbenches this summer. My approach on the first 22″ Eagle package was to come with a new, unfamiliar angle of the ship. Though some fans would have liked to see a different approach, most have come to accept that kit’s packaging as part of the identity of the product if not the ship itself.

As I worked on the new kit’s development, one particular shot kind of inspired me, but a close representation of the scene wouldn’t have delivered what I needed as it only showed a portion of the Eagle, and what we could see of the cargo pod was crowded in darkness.

Besides picking an angle of the ship, I had two other things to keep in mind. 1) Focus on what is different in this kit, the cental pod. I had to make sure it can be seen clearly. 2) As a point of branding the two 22” kits, use the same basic layout, logo size and placement used on the first kit. That meant finding something to work within the slanted trapezoidal space present in the first kit. An idea started to form in my mind that would basically show what would happen in the few moments after that one particular frame. If done just right, it would check all the boxes.

I knew I was capable of painting the illustration, but I’d need a little help to pull it off if I wanted to show all of the props on the moon surface. So as usual, I contacted Jim Small to run my idea by him. Offering opinions comes easy to him and I knew if I was way off base, he would tell me. Now, I’ll let you in on a couple secrets. 1) I am extremely selfish when it comes to being able to paint box illustrations. Once I form an idea, I get anxious to start in right away to see if I can achieve my initial vision. And 2) In a similar fashion, Jim is selfish when it comes to building and photographing his models. He sees that illustration has its place, but he thinks a photo of the actual product serves the purpose better. That, and he wants to showcase the hard work he puts into his… work… So when I say, “Hey, Jim, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for the cargo Eagle packaging.” (as soon as I finish that sentence), he comes back with “Oh yeah. You need to show a photo of the ship like this!”

To which I say “no no. I want to do something more like this.”

A discussion ensured to figure out exactly what we should do. It didn’t take long for Jim to realize that the idea I came up with was a reasonable approach. I asked him if he could do some really loose mockups to use as placeholders for the nuke cones and lamp stands. I wasn’t looking for anything authentically detailed or fancy, just something that could represent the props size-wise in relation to the Eagle buildup when he did the photography of the buildup that I would use for reference. I would be able to draw in everything including the details if he could just provide some indicators. He said that wouldn’t be a problem.

Now, I am totally onboard with showing plenty of photos of the model on the packaging. We do full color box bottoms for that exact reason. Other than knowing I needed to show some feature photos on the box bottom and sides, I hadn’t thought through the specifics for those photos. Over the course of our discussion, we looked at a few other screencaps of the cargo-equipped Eagle.

I said “You know, I DO want to show photos of the model in a familiar context like we did on the box bottom of the first kit. I know you like to scratch build stuff too. What if we did a close representation of the scene where the cargo Eagle carries away the damaged nose cone? We could composite everything so you really only need the one Eagle model if you want to scratch build the damaged nose cone from some parts I could send you.” Jim was intrigued with the opportunity and jumped in with both feet.

Getting back to the box illustration, I was starting to formulate an idea for the color scheme as well. Carrying over the design elements from the first package established the branding well enough, and I wanted to shift the color scheme from the first so that they wouldn’t be confused on the store shelf when viewed from a difference. For whatever reason, I always liked this shot of the Eagle (even though it is the 22″ model), and one of the reasons for that might be the mysterious red glow coming from within the storage elevator.

A white-ish ship over a gray moon doesn’t allow for much in the way of color. The show did a masterful job with lighting the ships to allow them to pop dramatically enough. But my purpose here was to imbue the image with enough color to make the kit jump off the shelf, and hopefully become as memorable as the first kit. I decided to explore a “RED ALERT” motif.

While we were still waiting on test shots to build for the photography, the need arose for box mockups to display at a couple early trade shows. Knowing that I couldn’t show with any accuracy what I intended for the final package look, I cobbled this together to at least portray the subject, setting and color scheme. It serve its purpose, but the future would hold greater things…

Next time we’ll have a special blog post from Jim Small to provide his side of the story and showcase the handmade miniatures he did that went way, WAY above and beyond what was originally asked for. After that, I’ll be back to show off the process of the box illustration before finally revealing a look at the new MPC Cargo Eagle model kit packaging!

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MPC Space:1999 Models: Announcing 22″ Cargo Pod Eagle

posted by JamieH 3:39 PM
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Since our 22″ Space:1999 Eagle hit the market, modelers have been clamoring for more and continue to ask what is coming next. Here is our official announcement that the next Space:1999 kit will be a 22″ Eagle with Cargo Pod! I don’t have much time at the moment, so I’ll dive right into the details as we know them right now.

Of course it includes the flatbed “cargo” pod, but comes with a couple options. It will come with a full winch assembly along with the magnetic hoist. Yes, magnets will be included. The kit will also come with four nuclear waste canisters. You can rig one up to work with the magnetic hoist or use all four to fill the flatbed.

The kit will be a full Eagle kit. We will be swapping out tooling inserts that replace the tools that injected the passenger pod parts for tools that will inject cargo pod parts. I say this to be clear that it will not be possible to produce separate pod kits for our 22″ Eagle. Doing it this way keeps both the tooling investment and production costs lower in order to deliver the kit at the lowest price possible.

We haven’t announced the pricing or release date yet. Due to using one sprue of new parts and including things like the magnets, expect it to be a bit more expensive than the standard 22″ Eagle. It will probably be available in mid-summer. The development of the new parts so far has proceeded at a brisk pace, and we will be tooling the parts soon. Expect to see our buildup at Wonderfest in May, 2017.

While I’m mentioning Wonderfest, let me remind everyone that we offer a substantial award in the model contest for the best use of a Round 2 kit. We give prizes to both the adult category and the best to come out of the junior & teen groups. Historically, we like to see either pristine builds using one of our kits OR the significant use of one of our kits in a creative new design or kit bash. They hope to set a new record of 700 entries this year. Sounds like an amazing opportunity!

I also wanted to mention that due to an unexpected delay with the Special Edition Eagle that spotlights Brian Johnson, we are not certain at this point if the kits will ship before the end of the year. There is a chance, but it is slim. If it doesn’t release by the end of the year, it shouldn’t be much further than a week or two into January.

Anyway, on with the pics of the Cargo Pod Eagle!

cargo-pod-blog3cargo-pod-blog4cargo-pod-blog1

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cargo-pod-blogcargo-pod-blog6 cargo-pod-blog2 cargo-pod-blog5 cargo-pod-blog7

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MPC Models: 22″ Eagle Special Edition

posted by JamieH 1:28 PM
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

[UPDATE] The kit will not ship by the end of the year. Look for it towards the end of January or February. This is primarily due to misprints on the decal sheet. -JH

Okay, guys. Time to let a cat out of the bag. We will be offering a special edition of the 22″ Eagle. This release gets a few very special extra goodies thrown in for the Space:1999 aficionados out there.

It starts off with an 18″ x 24″ poster featuring the box art from the kit. Logos have been minimized to really show off the great art on its own. We have gotten several requests to offer this poster. So here is your chance.

Next, we are adding a big sheet of additional decals that feature some specific paneling arrangements that were shown on the filming miniature. It comes with additional marking and “weathering” to randomly spread across the model. This allows the builder to use no paint, or just use a base coat, then apply all these new decals to achieve a great look without additional masking and painting. This special sheet is has been produced by Cartograf of Italy, known world-wide for their outstanding quality.

Last, and best of all, this edition comes with a signature card signed by the Eagle Transporter’s designer Brian Johnson! This is not a blind draw, “chance” offering. Every kit will come with an authentic hand-signed card. Brian is a BAFTA and Academy Award winning special effects wizard with credits on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, ALIEN, ALIENS and The Empire Strikes Back, not to mention his contributions to other Gerry Anderson productions such as Thunderbirds. This is a truly unique opportunity!

So… details…

If things go well, (and they are so far) the kit will be available before Christmas. We suggest it should retail for about $200, but you will need to check with your usual retailer. The kit will be available for a limited time and in limited number. Right now, we are looking at an edition of 500 copies, but if we get an overwhelming response, we may do more. When they are gone, they are gone.

I’m sure many will wonder if we will ever sell the add-ons separately. The answer is that we may offer the decal sheet later on, but not for a while and definitely not until we have sold out of this edition.

Click on this preview to see all the details.

mpc874-eagle-se-sell-sheet

Then, either click and print this form and fill in the info for your usual hobby dealer.

mpc874-eagle-se-coupon-02

Or download a PDF here. Fill in the form fields and email it to your dealer to reserve your copy.

mpc874-eagle-se-coupon

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Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 4

posted by JamieH 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Here is the last of the articles from Michael Scarola showing his fabulous build of the 12″ MPC Eagle kit. We are generally just showing the finished model this time around. Thanks, Michael, for contributing this series.

MPC Eagle Beauty 1 MPC Eagle Beauty 2 MPC Eagle Beauty 3 MPC Eagle Beauty 4 MPC Eagle Beauty 5 MPC Eagle Beauty 6 MPC Eagle Beauty 7 MPC Eagle Beauty 8 MPC Eagle Beauty 9 MPC Eagle Beauty 10 MPC Eagle Beauty 11 MPC Eagle Beauty 12 MPC Eagle Beauty 13 MPC Eagle Beauty 14 MPC Eagle Beauty 15 MPC Eagle Beauty 16

I hope to post something soon showing our progress on the 1/2500 NX-01 coming in our anniversary boxed set coming later this year. Happy modeling.

Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 3

posted by JamieH 3:00 PM
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Here is the third in a series of articles by Michael Scarola showing the steps he has taken to accurize a 12″ MPC Eagle.

Painting, Weathering, & Decals…

Not unlike the Star Trek original series Enterprise, the Eagle 1 studio model’s hull color has been a subject of debate among modelers. The paint/color that has become the most popular is an automotive paint, Ford Diamond White (FDW). The original Eagle 1, 44” studio model, was originally painted a plain white color but was later re-painted an off-white primer that’s the same shade as FDW.

For this build I wanted to replicate the look of the Eagle in mid season 1, when it had the various gray and blue panels as well as the panel lines drawn on. This seems to be a popular look as I’ve seen many Eagle replicas painted this way and happens to be my favorite look for the Eagle.

A friend sent me a sample of FDW that I used to mix the color using Testors Acryl hobby paint. After speaking with someone who works with automotive paint I found that a greenish-yellow pigment is used in the FDW formula to make the off- white shade. I added a couple of small drops of (Testors) Yellow Zinc Chromate to Flat White and it’s an almost exact match to the FDW color sample.

Figure 27

The color appears to have a creamy appearance with just a very small hint of green under various lighting conditions. With this mix worked out for the hull color all that was needed was to scale down the amount of Yellow Zinc Chromate I was adding to the white. For a larger Eagle, 44” or even 22”, FDW looks right but for this smaller 12” Eagle the off-white color looks better with just a bit less yellow in the mix.

I really wanted the small technical marking decals for this build so I decided to try and make some using the program Illustrator.

Figure 28

I’m still very new to using Illustrator but gave it a go. I studied reference images of the 44” Eagle 1 studio model and made the various markings as well as the windows and anti-glare panels for the resin CM and passenger pod. For the MPC kit’s CM I used the decals that came in the MPC 12” Eagle kit.

Now came the fun part… I sprayed the Eagle and all the various parts with the off-white hull color. After this, using reference pictures of the 44” studio model, I drew on all the panel lines with a pencil.

Figure 29

Figure 30

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The hull color was then sprayed over the panel lines to blend them in to keep them more in scale.

Figure 32

Using reference pictures, I started masking all the various gray and blue panels.

Figure 33

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This image shows the gray and blue panels painted.

Figure 35

The decals were applied after the panels and small details were painted.

Figure 36

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The model’s sections were weathered with dark gray pastel chalks and clear coated to seal it all in. I then sprayed a very thin, light mist coat of the off-white hull color over the decals for a more in scale look.

Figure 40

I sprayed Testors Create FX acrylic clear over the CM and passenger pod’s window decals, which I polished for a glass-like appearance. The windows were then masked when the final flat clear coat was applied. The landing gear was painted Testors Acryl Neutral Gray and the ‘toes’ on the main gear were masked and painted with the same Neutral Gray lightened with some Flat White.

Painting and applying the decals was almost as big a job as the build, well almost. Including all the small technical markings and windows, there are approximately 425 decals applied.

This was an extremely fun project that also gave me an opportunity to learn more about the original 44” Eagle 1 studio model along the way. I’m happy to have this one completed.

I’d like to thank Jamie Hood and everyone at Round 2 for giving me the opportunity to share this on their site.

Michael Scarola

Next time… a batch of beauty shots of Michael’s finished model. -JH

Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 2

posted by JamieH 3:00 PM
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Here is the second in a series of articles by Michael Scarola showing the steps he has taken to accurize a 12″ MPC Eagle.

My Eagle 1 build continues…

The 4 shelves that go inside the cages were each made from 2 pieces of .5 mm styrene sheet glued together.

Figure 12

The details were matched and scaled down from the Eagle 1 blueprints using 3.2 mm, 2.5 mm, 1.6 mm & .4 mm styrene rods as well as rounded sprue ends and the round domes from the ends of the nacelles of a Polar Lights 1/1000 TOS Enterprise kit.

The MPC kit’s passenger pod has some nice detailing so I decided to use as much of it as possible. I started by scratch building new front and rear bulkheads. Three layers of sheet styrene were used with the various shapes and door details cut out…

Figure 13

…and Evergreen V-Groove sheet (.025” spacing, .020” thick) was glued into the side channels.

Figure 14

The top has neodymium magnets underneath for attachment to the spine. I made the eves with layered .5 mm sheet styrene and 2 mm round rod at the edge to give them the rounded shape.

Figure 15

The ‘Gemini’ kit details in the center of the eves were replicated with Evergreen Metal Siding (1 mm thick, .75 mm spacing) as well as the center details taken from the MPC kit’s passenger pod.

I removed the built in thrusters from the kit’s passenger pod bottom…

Figure 16

…to make way for a set of aluminum thrusters. The footpads were removed and replaced with ones I scratch built…

Figure 17

…and all missing pipes were replaced with 2 mm half round rods. Various styrene rods (3.2 mm, 1.6 mm, 1 mm, & .5 mm) and styrene sheet were used to scratch build the details.

A spare MPC passenger pod bottom piece…

Figure 18

…was used to scratch build a cargo pod. 2 mm and 1 mm styrene rods were used for the front and rear supports…

Figure 19

…and magnets were installed for connection to the spine. Evergreen Metal Siding (1 mm thick, .75 mm spacing) was used on the floor and 1 mm styrene sheet used for the rectangular ‘blocks’. The landing gear…

Figure 20

…is made up of various styrene tubes and rods (4 mm/3.2 mm tube and 2.5 mm rods) and 1 mm and .5 mm styrene sheet. Each foot is made to swivel with brass rod pins. A set of aluminum thrusters will be attached to the bottom when it’s all painted. I scratch built two Nuclear Waste Containers…

Figure 21

…using .5 mm and .3 mm sheet styrene glued around .5 mm top and bottom plates pieces. 11, 7.9 & 4 mm tubes were used for the top rings and 1 mm styrene strips for the raised bands.

I used the kit’s shoulder pods but removed the raised details and shortened them a couple of millimeters. The details on the kit’s parts are more representative of the Eagle 2 studio model so I replaced them with details seen on Eagle 1.

Figure 22

I also attached prongs for connection to the cages so they simply plug in with no need for glue, just like the original Eagle 1 studio model.

The landing gear…

Figure 23

…was scratch built and made to retract with the use of aluminum tubes and the footpads are made to swivel. The footpads are the one’s from the MPC kit with the details removed and replaced with Eagle 1’s details.

The MPC kit’s command module (CM) has a back piece made up of a couple of pieces of 1.5 mm styrene sheet with .3 mm styrene raised panels. 1 mm styrene was glued in between the top and bottom halves and 4 new brackets were added. The 4 sensor dishes were filled with putty and have 2 mm styrene rod glued into the centers to form the raised detail. The CM…

Figure 24

…is also removable with the use of magnets. In addition to the MPC kit’s CM I had a resin Small Art Works CM…

Figure 25

…in the stash that I decided to use as an alternate. I shortened the back by 5 mm’s and added the 4 brackets. A magnet was installed inside as I did with the MPC kit’s CM.

The last parts I had to make were the engine baffles, which were scratch built with .5 mm styrene and tubing for the raised details.

Figure 26

The Eagle has a unique hull color that involved doing some research which I’ll talk more about in the third and final installment as well as weathering and the decals…

Michael Scarola

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 1

posted by JamieH 2:39 PM
Thursday, July 14, 2016

As promised, here is the first in a series of articles by Michael Scarola showing the steps he has taken to accurize a 12″ MPC Eagle.

Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 1

After all these years I finally got around to building a Space 1999 Eagle. The Eagle is a unique ship that actually looks like it could work as intended. I love its organic yet utilitarian design. For this build I started with an MPC Eagle and decided to make some modifications of the existing kit parts and also do some scratch building along the way. The MPC Eagle 1 kit is a classic that has been around since the TV show began and represents an Eagle nicely but does have some simplified sections and details that I felt I could improve upon. I wanted to use as much of the original kit parts as possible while attempting to make it accurate to the original Eagle 44” studio model.

The build…

I used a WARP kit I have and access to a friend’s set of Daniel Prud’Homme Eagle blueprints as reference. I decided to start by scratch building the front and rear cage sections. I made a jig…

Figure 1

…out of a couple of pieces of 1.5 mm styrene sheet that helped keep everything straight and aligned. Using a round file I ‘fish mouthed’ the ends of the styrene rods so it would all fit together the same as the studio model. 2 mm styrene rods were used for the larger main rods and 1.6 mm rods for the smaller ones. This image shows one of the cage sections after removal from the jig.

Figure 2

The MPC kit’s spine was shortened and narrowed and a flat file was used to re-shape the tubing since they are flat on the backsides. I replaced the inner supports with 2 mm and 1.6 mm styrene rods.

Figure 3

The corridors inside the spine were scratch built using 1.5 mm sheet styrene with channels made for attaching the shoulder pods. The doors at the ends of each corridor are pieces of .5 mm styrene layered to create the recesses.

Figure 4

The original 44” studio model’s corridor doors were drawn on but these doors match the ones on the passenger pod and look more realistic so I went with this approach.

The details on the sides and tops of the corridors…

Figure 5

Figure 6

…were made from scaled down measurements taken from Daniel Prud’Homme’s Eagle 1 blueprints. I used .4 mm sheet styrene layered and other various sizes to create the side details that were actually kit tank parts on the original studio model. All the grill details are made from open grate platforms from Tichy Train Group. The details on top were a bit more challenging. On the studio model most of these consisted of model parts from Saturn V and Gemini kits. I layered .4 mm styrene for the ‘Saturn V’ end details and shaped the ends of sprues taken from a Polar Lights 1/1000 TOS Enterprise kit for the round ‘Gemini’ details. The Polar Lights 1/1000 TOS Enterprise kit has some nice large diameter sprues that I’ve used to scratch build parts on a few models I’ve worked on. That kit keeps on giving.

Now that the cages and corridors were completed I put them together using 2 mm diameter styrene rods that now completed the sections.

Figure 7

It was now time to move on to the rear of the Eagle’s frame. 2 mm styrene rods were used to make the framework that the cross section frame is attached to.

Figure 8

I used all 4 of the engine bottles and ‘balls’…

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

…as well as the rear cross frame from the MPC kit. I modified these parts a bit to more closely match the studio model. The bottles were shortened and new raised detail glued in between the ball halves. The piping, matched to the blueprints, was added to tie it all together.

In the next installment I’ll cover the building of the shoulder pods, landing gear, command module, passenger pod and the cargo pod…

Michael Scarola

Space:1999 Eagle

posted by JamieH 5:20 PM
Thursday, June 30, 2016

A real quick post this week. We will be posting a new series next week featuring an accurized buildup of the MPC 12″ Eagle from Mike Scarola. Here is a sneak peek at his build.

MPC Eagle Beauty 7

Also, our friends at Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeller had so much fun putting their Modelling the Eagle special last year, they are following that up with another great special this year. Here are the details…

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September 13, 2016…

…A massive explosion of Space:1999 modelling rocks the world! Mark this date in your diary, because this is the day we publish Modelling:1999!

Featuring: * Alpha! * Eagles! * Hawks! * Swift! * Moon Buggies! *  Alpha Tanks! * Ultra Probe! * Gwent! * Stun Gun! * Comlock! * Original studio miniatures! * Original studio spacesuit! * More Eagles! Plus much, much more!

Following the success of our recent Modelling the Eagle special, we are delighted to present an even more exciting large format Space:1999 modelling extravaganza featuring more pages and hundreds of exclusive photographs!

100 pages. A4 format.

To pre-order your copy now for immediate despatch on day of publication (mid-September) click here or visit www.scififantasymodeller.co.uk

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